Read Letters to a Fiction Writer by Frederick Busch Free Online
Book Title: Letters to a Fiction Writer|
The author of the book: Frederick Busch
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 9.47 MB
City - Country: No data
Date of issue: 1999
ISBN 13: 9780393320619
Loaded: 2493 times
Reader ratings: 3.5
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I love this book. When I feel lost or out of touch with my own writing--usually as I'm easing back into the habit after a period of being too busy with other things to write--I open this up and reread a letter. Most often I go to the one by Charles Baxter, in which he writes, among many other things:
"The trouble is that the first stage—of pretending to be a writer—never quite disappears. And there is, in this art, no ultimate validation, again because it’s not a rule-governed activity. The ultimate verdict never comes in. God tends to be silent in matters of art and literary criticism."
I don't believe in God, but I do need this reminder from time to time. Baxter also writes:
"Women and men who have decided to be fiction writers have a certain fanaticism. Sometimes this fanaticism is well concealed, but more often it isn’t. They—you—need it, to get you through the bad times and the long apprenticeship. Learning any craft alters the conditions of your being. Poets, like mathematicians, ripen early, but fiction writers tend to take longer to get their world on paper because that world has to be observed in predatory detail and because the subtleties of plot, setting, tone and dialogue are, like the mechanics of brain surgery, so difficult to master. Fanaticism ignores current conditions (i.e., you are living in a garage, surviving on peanut butter sandwiches, and writing a Great Novel that no one, so far, has read, or wants to) in the hope of some condition that may arrive at a distant point in the future. Fanaticism and dedication and doggedness and stubbornness are your angels. They keep the demon of discouragement at bay. But, given the demands of the craft, it is no wonder that so many of its practitioners—women and men—come out the other end of the process as drunks, bullies, windbags, bespoke-suited merchants of smarm, and assholes. The wonder is that any of them come out as decent human beings. But some do.
"A writer’s life is tricky to sustain. The debased romanticism that is sometimes associated with it—the sordid glamour of living in an attic, being a drunken oaf or a bully, getting into fistfights á la Bukowski—needs to be discarded, and fast."
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Read information about the authorFrederick Busch (1941–2006) was the recipient of many honors, including an American Academy of Arts and Letters Fiction Award, a National Jewish Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award. The prolific author of sixteen novels and six collections of short stories, Busch is renowned for his writing’s emotional nuance and minimal, plainspoken style. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he lived most of his life in upstate New York, where he worked for forty years as a professor at Colgate University.
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